4 in 5 Australians feel anxious about the impact of extreme weather

4 in 5 Australians feel anxious about the impact of extreme weather

NRMA Insurance and Lifeline Australia launch online resilience resources to support increased need for mental health care

New NRMA Insurance research has highlighted the mental health impacts of Australia’s changing climate, with 80% of Australians surveyed stating they feel anxious about the impact of extreme weather.

The concern is heightened among people who live in areas at high-risk of extreme weather events (86%) and also among younger people, with 90% of those aged 18-24 anxious about the impact of extreme weather.

The research findings coincide with an increased demand for critical mental health support related to natural disasters. Lifeline Australia has seen a 25% increase in calls to its dedicated disaster recovery helpline 13HELP over the past three years, and received more than 430,000 calls during that time.

To help Australians mentally and emotionally prepare for and recover from extreme weather events, NRMA Insurance and Lifeline Australia have created a range of online resilience resources.

The natural disaster content, which is part of Lifeline’s Support Toolkit, includes information and tools that people can access to build resilience and manage their wellbeing.

The Toolkit provides actions people can take before, during and after an extreme weather event or natural disaster, including:

  • Practical strategies to manage stress and cope with uncertainty;
  • What to do if things are getting to be too much; and
  • Where to find tools, apps, and support services to help you move forward.

NRMA Insurance Executive General Manager Claims Luke Gallagher said the research highlights the importance of preparing for the social and emotional impacts of extreme weather events on people and communities.

“Natural disasters and extreme weather have mental health and wellbeing impacts, particularly for younger Australians and those in high-risk areas, and building emotional resilience is just as important as being physically prepared,” Mr Gallagher said.

“Our research has found that Australians are most likely to turn to family members (51%) to seek help for their mental health when extreme weather strikes.

These resources will provide information and tools to guide people seeking mental health support due to the impact of extreme weather or natural disasters, as well as those who are helping someone else in need

Luke Gallgher

NRMA Insurance Executive General Manager Claims

Lifeline Australia Wellbeing Lead Dr Ally Nicolopoulos said: “Australians are turning to Lifeline’s online resources now more than ever. They’re looking to understand what they’re experiencing and to find practical ways they can manage their mental health and wellbeing.

“The Support Toolkit means any Australian, at any stage of their individual journey, can come to Lifeline to access help in their own way, on their own terms.

“Providing individuals with proactive, practical ways that can protect their mental health and wellbeing, particularly when they’re vulnerable, is really important for fostering resilience, promoting positive coping mechanisms, and ensuring all Australians have access to the support they deserve.

“The new disaster resilience resources within Lifeline’s Support Toolkit will complement Lifeline’s dedicated disaster recovery line (13HELP) to deliver information and practical action and help build pre and post disaster care and support in our communities.”

The research features in the latest edition of the NRMA Insurance Wild Weather Tracker, which highlights the impact of extreme weather and natural disasters. It revealed NRMA Insurance received 9,647 claims for wild weather damage to homes and vehicles nationally during autumn.

The online resilience resources within Lifeline’s Support Toolkit are part of Help Nation – an initiative created by NRMA Insurance to help Australians prepare for extreme weather and to know their local risks.

To access the natural disaster resources in Lifeline’s Support Toolkit visit: nrma.com.au/helpnation

[1] Online research of 3,500 Australians across NSW (1,000), QLD (1,000), the ACT (500), SA (500) and WA (500) – conducted on behalf of NRMA Insurance by PureProfile in May 2024

/Public Release. View in full here.